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Abstract, Frontiers in Science, 2016

Chenopodium quinoa Willd., a high quality grain crop, is resistant to abiotic stresses (drought, cold, and salt) and offers an optimal source of protein. Quinoa represents a symbol of crop genetic diversity across the Andean region. In recent years, this crop has undergone a major expansion outside its countries of origin. The activities carried out within the framework of the International Year of Quinoa provided a great contribution to raise awareness on the multiple benefits of quinoa as well as to its wider cultivation at the global level. FAO is actively involved in promoting and evaluating the cultivation of quinoa in 26 countries outside the Andean region with the aim to strengthen food and nutrition security. The main goal of this research is to evaluate the adaptability of selected quinoa genotypes under different environments outside the Andean region. This paper presents the preliminary results from nine countries. Field evaluations were conducted during 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 in Asia (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), and the Near East and North African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Mauritania, and Yemen). In each country, the trials were carried out in different locations that globally represent the diversity of 19 agrarian systems under different agro-ecological conditions. Twenty-one genotypes of quinoa were tested using the same experimental protocol in all locations consisting in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replicates. Some genotypes showed higher yields and the Q18 and Q12 landraces displayed greater adaptation than others to new environmental conditions. The Q21 and Q26 landraces were evaluated with stable and satisfactory levels of yield (>1 t.ha−1) in each of the different trial sites. This production stability is of considerable importance especially under climate change uncertainty. While these results suggest that this Andean crop is able to grow in many different environments, social, and cultural considerations remain crucial regarding its possible introduction as a staple food in new cropping systems around the world.

Keywords: Chenopodium quinoa Willd., plant genetic resources, seeds, adaptation, climate change, multi-local trials, agrobiodiversity, agroecology